Chapter 18: Battle of Life And Death! Apprentice vs. Genius
Among the team from the capital city, there were mighty knights and well-equipped soldiers, but the most eye-catching one was the middle-aged man who was riding a black magic horse.
It was a thin lich and he looked ordinary. However, even the two potion masters next to him did not dare to neglect this man who was only a potioneer as he was Sandro, the most outstanding genius potioneer of the Fallen Angel Empire in three hundred years!
The group was welcomed personally by Princess Royal, Shea at the city gate. Although the people showed considerable courtesy and respect to Princess Royal, the descendant of the Crown Prince, many of them showed a disdainful look on the way to the palace when they saw the bleak buildings. The so-called sense of superiority from the big city was shown on their faces.
After entering the palace, the guests and hosts were seated, then Shea said, “Many of you had a long journey. You must be exhausted. Why not rest for a day, only then we will discuss on the challenge.”
Sandro got up and said, “Her Royal Highness, I came here specifically to challenge Master Aldas. I request to start the challenge now. Please understand my eagerness to become a master.”
Both Master Zola and Master Kemp at the side smiled at the same time. The original plan was to catch Aldas by surprise. To notify two days in advance was according to the rules of the Potioneer Alliance. Otherwise, they would not give him any time to prepare. Why would they now give a chance for the other to delay now?
“There isn’t really a point to rest in such a poor place,” A scornful voice came from the guests. It was the young knight who escorted the team, wearing silver armor.
Shea recognized that it was the upstart in the military, Chelt. His father was the first of the empire’s three generals to betray to Obsidian. Shea frowned slightly but she acted as if she did not hear it. At the opposite, Athena couldn’t help but got up and said, “Chelt, you coward, dare to despise the majesty of Princess Royal! Pull out your sword. Let me see if the loser made any progress!”
Chelt lost to Athena in the Junior Swordsmanship Contest a few years ago. To be exposed by her in public, he was furious and was about to attack, but he was stopped by Master Kemp. At this time, if they started another issue, then they would fall right into Shea’s plan. They should focus on the main issue instead.
Master Zola was also a dark elf. He said, “Why didn’t I see Master Aldas? The master must accept the challenge according to the rules of the Potioneer Alliance. No need for negotiation. Why not we go directly to his lab.”
Shea heard that Master Zola went straight to the topic, but she did not panic. She just said as if there was a difficulty, “Actually, Master Aldas had an accident when he was trying a powerful new potion three days ago. He is seriously injured and loses his ability to move so he couldn’t come. That was why I said we have to discuss.”
“Oh?” Master Zola sneered: “Why did Master Aldas have an accident right when we are here? Could he be afraid of Sandro’s prestige and malingered to escape the challenge right?”
Shea didn’t change her expression and asked, “Master Aldas had an accident three days ago. He wasn’t aware that Sandro would come to challenge. Considering the journey, it took at least a month for everyone to travel from the capital city. Why did we only receive the magic summon from the Potioneer Alliance two days before your arrival?”
That sentence hit the nail on the head. Not only clarifying the innocence of Aldas but also vaguely pointed out that it was a conspiracy. Master Zola was dumbfounded suddenly and the lich, Master Kemp spoke up, “Princess Shea misunderstood. Originally we were invited by the Red Spirit Lord, Sir Josh to visit the Red Spirit City. Sandro made a spontaneous decision and decided to first come to the Dark Moon Estate to challenge Master Aldas. That’s why the magic summon was so rushed. If Princess Royal doesn’t believe it, you can ask Josh’s eldest son, Joseph. I remember he seems to be the finance officer of Dark Moon City.”
The Red Spirit Estate was adjacent to the Dark Moon estate. As a confidant of Prince Obsidian, the Red Spirit Lord was the “eye” of the capital city to monitor on the Dark Moon. Since most of the resources and funding for the Dark Moon Estate came from the Red Spirit, Shea had to put Joseph who “sworn loyalty” at an important position. On the surface, Joseph was one of Dark Moon City. If he testified the matter, it was even more irrefutable.
Anyway, Sandro’s challenge was in line with the procedure. There was no point in arguing about the notice timing.
“It’s fine. Why wouldn’t I believe in Master Kemp.” Shea nodded calmly. “I just sent Kagulon to ask the injured Master Aldas to see if he has a request to extend the challenge.”
Kemp and Zola looked at each other and quickly exchanged their opinions. One couldn’t hide forever. If the other party wanted to postpone, then Sandro could stay in Dark Moon City until Aldas “recovered” to fight. Anyway, they would never give up until Aldas was banished.
Soon, the report of the leader of the Imperial Guard, Kaguron surprised the guests from the capital city, including Sandro – The seriously injured Master Aldas was unwilling to postpone and promised to openly accept Sandro’s challenge at the center of the arena in Dark Moon City!
Sandro originally thought that the other party wanted to delay, but instead, he accepted the challenge directly. Yet, he was daring for his talent and said, “That was surprising for Master Aldas to compete with an injury. In order to show him my respect, I will go to the arena now and start the challenge.”
Shea’s cold face didn’t seem to have any fluctuation, and she said calmly, “Since this is the case. Please wait for a moment. I will immediately send someone to the arena to prepare everything.”
The Dark Moon Arena was one of the largest buildings in the city. It was quite famous four hundred years ago. The Beelzebub Royal Family who had disappeared from the historical stage at that time appeared in the Dark Moon City. They controlled the Dark Moon Estate, and they attempted to conquer the Red Spirit Estate and threaten the capital city. Lord of Midnight Sun heard the news and came to fight against the Beelzebub royal family in this arena. He heavily injured the opponent eventually. No one heard of the man ever since.
Corresponding to the long history of the arena was the dilapidated furnishing. With Kagulon and the soldiers’ hard work, the arena was quickly cleaned. A stage was set up and rows of seats were placed as VIP seats. As for the rest of the people, they didn’t have such good treatment, but it didn’t affect their enthusiasm. The previously deserted arena was instantly overcrowded.
Although everyone was quite afraid of Master Aldas who often caused horrifying screams, they still hoped that he could overcome those outsiders and glorify the Dark Moon deep down their hearts.
Under the sight of the crowd, Sandro’s servant skillfully arranged a set of apparatus and materials. On the other side, Master Aldas was also being carried into the arena by a stretcher, followed by the new apprentice, Chen Rui, which caused a commotion among the audiences.
Human? Chen Rui’s appearance made Sandro frowned. After listening to Shea’s introduction of Chen Rui’s origins, he showed a scornful expression. When Zola and Kemp at the side heard that Aldas actually recruited a human captive as an apprentice, they disdained him.
It was Chen Rui first time to face with such a huge crowd. Looking at all the strange faces of the demons around him, he calmed his mind and bowed to the VIPs, “I am Master Aldas’s new apprentice, Chen Rui. As master was accidentally injured during an experiment, and he is temporarily unable to act, so he will be instructing me to accept the challenge. Does Sir Sandro agree?”
Instruct the apprentice to accept the challenge? And it is still a new apprentice! This is the first in the history of the master challenge. Although Aldas had a reason as he was seriously injured and unable to act, Sandro still clearly felt an insult. Is it because Aldas knows he’ll fail, he might as well humiliate his opponent before leaving?
“I agree,” Sandro stared at Aldas in the distance and his eyes flashed murderous intention. “I ask for a battle of life and death. I don’t know if Master Aldas has the courage to let the human apprentice take your place?”
Battle of life and death! Zola and Campo looked surprised. The battle of life and death was to directly try their potions on each other instead of a substitute. The first to be poisoned to death would fail. It was usually done when both parties had a strong hatred toward each other. Under this rule, even if Aldas sent an apprentice to take part, as long as the apprentice was poisoned to death, he himself must accept the death punishment.
The two masters, Zola and Kemp had absolute confidence in Sandro’s strength. Even though they were surprised, they quickly recovered their calm.
Sure enough, Aldas at the opposite fell into contemplation. He seemed to be pondering something. The human revealed a terrified look; he went to Aldas and whispered, seemingly afraid to take up the challenge. The dark elf was furious, pointing his shaky finger at the human, but he could only lift his finger a little then it fell powerlessly. His serious injury didn’t seem fake.
The surroundings were noisy. Even someone with a keen hearing couldn’t listen clearly to the whispers of the two.
Joseph saw everything and his brow uncontrollably frowned: Based on the information of the spy, Aldas wasn’t injured three days ago. Instead, he stayed in the lab for the past two days. Is it because to deal with Sandro, so he forcibly brewed some high-difficulty potions and accidentally got injured?
Eventually, Aldas made a decision to let his apprentice, Chen Rui replace him for the battle of life and death. It seemed that the dark elf master was planning to put gamble all he had with his death to repay Princess Royal’s kindness.
After the guard announced the rules of the battle of life and death to the ignorant audience, it raised a commotion among the Dark Moon City’s residents. They felt that it was more exciting. They couldn’t understand pharmaceutics, but they could definitely understand life and death!
Sandro gave a cruel smile. He didn’t think there was any suspense in this battle. With his newly developed poison, even if Aldas did it personally, he would only be poisoned to death, let alone that weak human.
Princess Shea announced the start of the competition and the noises around suddenly stopped. Everyone’s sight fell on the poor human. Someone was already betting. How long before the human dies from poison? One second? Two seconds?
Sandro quickly began brewing. His skillful moves made the two judges, Master Zola, and Master Kemp sighed in inferiority. The genius potioneer was indeed well-deserved his reputation.
In just two minutes, a bottle of potion was already ready. On the other hand, the apprentice, Chen Rui was clumsy under the command of Aldas. He didn’t even complete the classification of raw materials.
According to the rules, if one party had done brewing, the other party had to stop and brew an antidote in a specified time to try the poison. The battle of life and death wasn’t only about the potency of the potion, but also a test to the skill and wisdom of the potioneer. If one only strived to be fast, then its potency might not be enough; If one was too slow, then the other party would act first.
Sandro gestured the referee to let the other party try the potion. Chen Rui looked very nervous. He first closed his eyes and prayed, then only took the bottle of dark green potion in shivers. No one knew that he was actually praying for, progress! progress!